Sunday, May 29, 2011

Have a sweet Sunday!

Rozalia and Henrik brought a choice of cakes from Dresden's famous pastry shop  Conditorei Kreutzkamm and we spent a wonderful afternoon tasting and talking. If you once have the possibility to visit Kreutzkamm, you must try Herrentorte, Tiramisu and chocolate cake!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May flowers in the garden

At the moment I'm doing really good; whenever it's possible I'm out in the garden.  Awesome! There's so much to do: cutting the bushes back and all the frozen ivy from winter, trimming the hedges and the box trees, watering and fertilizing the rhododendrons, weeding and more weeding... and finally sunbathing, yes!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

an old family recipe: summertime potato soup

My grandfather loved it because it was reliably followed by a cake or by sweet yeast dumplings with a divine salty crust. My mother continued the tradition and we all loved it.
I am the one who changed it for just potato soup accompanied by baguette, some olives, a bit of pizza or what else the kitchen offers. The quick and easy way!

Potato cucumber soup

4 tbs olive oil
4-5 spring onions, chopped
 about 750g potatoes, diced
1 large fresh cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 ts salt
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
about 1l  vegetable stock ( I use vegetable stock powder from the wholefood store)

Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the spring onions and the potatoes over low heat, stirring, until the vegetables soften and begin to turn golden. This step is very important, because it gives a special flavour to the soup. Much better than the raw vegetables simply thrown into the stock.
Add salt and pepper.
Pour in the stock. Should cover the vegetables by about 3 cm.

Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add now the cucumber and let it simmer for only 5 minutes more. (No longer!)
Liquidize it in a food processor until smooth.
You can pimp the soup with a bit of sour cream, freshly chopped parsley, croutons....

And of course, have a piece of cake afterwards if you like to follow the old traditions!

Monday, May 16, 2011

#5 White Lady

Sunday's cocktail comes on a bad-weather-Monday!

However, are you ready for a summer series of fresh sours and punches?  Being the White Lady still a true classic, my next drinks will come along much more creative with fruit, cucumbers and herbs muddled in the syrup and the spirits.
Ah?  Do I see that some of you are raising the eyebrows?

Don't worry, Paul Carr, an English composer  and big aficionado of cocktail mixing, once taught me, that a good cocktail always and first of all has to be CLEAN (whatever that means). By intuition and knowledge I exclusively prepare CLEAN cocktails... Trust me!

How mix the White Lady:

2 parts gin
1 part Cointreau
1 part lemon juice

Mix in a shaker half full of ice, strain and serve in sugar-rimmed glasses (I took Muscobado sugar and added more ice).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

on painting

In the end it's all about pigments. Their origin , their amount, their very special character...  As for wall painting I'm addicted to the colours of Farrow&Ball. They are so subtle, so elegant.... Yes, I know, I know: it's a personal and an emotional thing.

However I'm happy that we now have a stockist in Dresden. Time to think about a makeover for my guest room, west-oriented, with a big red-leaved tree in front. So  I imagine a very soft and bright pink for it.

This, for example, is the colour Rectory Red in my hallway.

Talking about colours, we have got a new attraction at Pirnaischer Platz in Dresden:  two traffic islands painted in ocean blue! The colour has been chosen to remind past times when this place has been a lake area.
It's impressing how these blue traffic islands inspire people's fantasy. In the biggest rush hour there has been a man relaxing on a sunbed, yesterday  a flashmob had brought plastic ducklings.

Friday, May 13, 2011

excursion into the wild to harvest the best elderflowers

Once the elderflowers bloom, go out and find a place far from traffic to pick about 20 heads of elderflowers. (You know, the eldertree is magic! Besides protection it also gives beauty and love..)

Picking during daytime is ok, it's not necessary to wait for moonlight.

Now the most important step: the extraction and conservation of the magical essence.

Put the heads into 2l of boiled water, add 50g of citric acid and 3 finely sliced lemons. Let it rest for one day and one night.

Once the essence of the elderflowers has merged with the liquid, strain it into a pot and add 2 kg of sugar. Heat and dissolve. Then strain the syrup into clean bottles.

You can store it in the fridge until Christmas - or enjoy it right now. It's amazing with water, champagne or gin.


desire to travel

Sunday, May 08, 2011

a sweet surprise: homemade meringue with yoghurt and morello cherries

Mother's Day and no capuccino in bed?  served by my loving children?

The yoghurt breakfast they later surprised me with was actually a much better treat than the expected capuccino! In one of my cookbooks they had looked up how to prepare meringue. (We were talking about meringue on the occasion of our last-Friday-late-night-Creme Brulée, more exactly about what you can do with remaining egg whites...).

Once cooled down they mixed it with plain yoghurt and with the morello cherries, they had found in the freezer. Ah, and even they thought about TAKING PHOTOS before offering it to me!!  Simply adorable....

I warmly recommend to try the recipe (from Rose Bakery):


4 egg whites
200g superfine sugar
1 ts natural  vanilla
1 ts vinegar
1 ts cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then slowly add the sugar. Beat constantly until the meringe is thick and glossy. Add the vanilla, vinegar and cream of tartar and fold in well.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the meringue starts to turn slightly brown and crisp.

Once cooled down, my children spooned it in small pieces over  the creamy plain yoghurt and topped it with defrosted morello cherries.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

the daily dose of green

This week I had to protect the flowers on my windowsills with bed linen from the bad attack of Servatius, Pankratius, Bonifatius and Kalte Sophie, commonly known as "The Saints of Ice". They really lived up to their names bringing some days of nasty rain and icy temperatures. It was so demoralizing!
At least they also brought plenty of lush green - and from today we could relax again in our sunchairs instead of sitting by the tile stove...

Happy Saturday!

Friday, May 06, 2011

late night anger fit

Why am I not able to place two photos next to each other? No tutorial? No simple and easy way to deal with this problem?  Picasa? Photoshop? I've no idea.... Help!

The original title of this post should have been "late night cooking"...